Author: NL Hartmann
Publisher: Wilde City
Cover Artist: Unknown
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 05/18/2016
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Genre: Fantasy, Gay Romance, Paranormal
Jaded and wary, ballet star Alessandro Woodman has been sleepwalking through life since his lover left him with an empty apartment and a broken heart. One night, Sandro accompanies his best friend to an art gallery where he finds a spectacular painting for one of his bare walls and a strange young man who he cannot get out of his mind.
For his part, shy artist Greg Klein arrives in the city fresh from the Midwest and lands a one-man gallery show even before he begins art school. The two miss one another that first fateful evening, but a twist of fate gives them another chance.
I found this story difficult to review. It had an interesting premise, one that I would like to have seen more developed, but the book itself needed a much stronger editor. Several recurring things drew me out of the story:
- The almost “stream of consciousness” style—it felt like whatever popped into the author’s head hit the page in a random kind of way. It manifested itself most in the many spots where an idea was introduced in response to an action in the story, but that idea had zero ground work. One great example of this is the introduction of Sandro’s nephew, who you never heard about all through the book (including all the talk of his sister) until they randomly talked about kids. Then, all of a sudden, they’d been taking the kid to the zoo and spending a ton of time with him—none of it on page.
- Scenes that didn’t need to be there—I don’t need to see Sandro stopping by convenience store for milk when it has nothing to do with the plot. The ex didn’t really need to be in the book more than to say he had trust issues. That thread never went anywhere.
- The off page connection of Sandro and Greg—very little of their interaction is on page. I didn’t buy their instalove devastating Sandro because of the book’s events.
- The book was a summary—told mostly through exposition rather than action. They’re in love. Then this happened. Then that happened. One example of this was the sudden relationship of two secondary characters. You didn’t even know they were together until they needed to be in order to have a wedding so that those events could occur.
- Vicktor Alexander—This broke the 4D wall for me. It pulled me out every time I saw his name. There are more subtle ways to write people into books.
- The ending—SPOILER ALERT—this is a romance story and I didn’t find the emotionally satisfying ending that should happen at the end of this type of genre fiction. Sandro is broken from Greg’s sudden death. A year magically passes. He finds Greg again in a magic ballroom only to lose him all over. What was the point in that?
All in all, I can’t recommend this book for all of the issues with it. The blurb showed promise and intrigued me, but the execution fell far short.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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